Detect the encoding of a file

Well this is a doozy, and bound to require constant upkeep.

I always start off reading files like this...

using (var sr = new StreamReader(fileName))

Then, someone complains that their non-ascii files weren't read correctly, I ask for example files, perform some tests and end up with this:

using (var sr = new StreamReader(fileName, System.Text.Encoding.UTF8))

It works for a while, then I receive more complains and more test files. I see that it doesn't work for the new test files.

I studiously avoid thinking about "The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)".

I can open the file in NotePad++ and see under the conveniently named "Encoding" menu, exactly which encoding NotePad++ decides on for a given file.

Then I go to stack overflow and find an answer, with a lot of upvotes, which almost works for me.

Only change I had to make is highlighted below:

/// <summary>
/// Determines a text file's encoding by analyzing its byte order mark (BOM).
/// Defaults to ASCII when detection of the text file's endianness fails.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="filename">The text file to analyze.</param>
/// <returns>The detected encoding.</returns>
private static Encoding GetEncoding(string filename)
    // Read the BOM
    var bom = new byte[4];
    using (var file = new FileStream(filename, FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read))
        file.Read(bom, 0, 4);

    // Analyze the BOM
    if (bom[0] == 0x2b && bom[1] == 0x2f && bom[2] == 0x76) return Encoding.UTF7;
    if (bom[0] == 0xef && bom[1] == 0xbb && bom[2] == 0xbf) return Encoding.UTF8;
    if (bom[0] == 0xff && bom[1] == 0xfe) return Encoding.Unicode; //UTF-16LE
    if (bom[0] == 0xfe && bom[1] == 0xff) return Encoding.BigEndianUnicode; //UTF-16BE
    if (bom[0] == 0 && bom[1] == 0 && bom[2] == 0xfe && bom[3] == 0xff) return Encoding.UTF32;
    return Encoding.Default; // **Changed this line**

And use it thus:

var encoding = GetEncoding(fileName);
using (var sr = new StreamReader(fileName, encoding)) // System.Text.Encoding.UTF8))

I am certain this will require further changes in future.


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